Former Union Minister M.J. Akbar on Wednesday recorded his statement before a court here in support of his allegations levelled in a criminal defamation complaint against senior journalist Priya Ramani.Recording his statement before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal, Mr. Akbar said that he had suffered “damage due to the scurrilous and false charges levelled by Ms. Ramani”.“Indeed there was an immediate damage because of the scurrilous nature of these concocted and false allegations. I was attacked in my personal capacity about alleged and fabricated non-events allegedly done two decades ago,” he said in his statement.“I chose in that environment to seek justice in my personal capacity without the appurtenance of office. This is why I offered my resignation as Minister of State, Government of India. My reputation has been tarnished in the eyes of general public and those who are near and dear and known to me,” he said. Mr. Akbar had resigned from the Union Council of Ministers on October 17.Later, on conclusion of Mr. Akbar’s statement, the court posted the matter on November 12 for recording statements of other witnesses cited by him in his complaint.Taking cognisance of the complaint on October 18, the Additional CMM had summoned Mr. Akbar for recording his statement.The former editor had sought Ms. Ramani’s prosecution for allegedly defaming him by accusing him of sexual misconduct with journalists who worked with him in different media houses over the years. Mr. Akbar in his complaint cited an open letter by Ms. Ramani published in Vogue magazine last October and her tweets as defamatory.The complaint stated that “the accused herself, while putting forward defamatory statements relating to incidents which allegedly occurred 20 years ago, simultaneously admits that the complainant has not done anything to her”.(With PTI inputs)
Prashant Kumar Behera, a 41-year-old junior engineer in the Rural Works Division of Odisha’s Malkangiri district is working to ensure that development is on a fast trot in some of the remotest parts of the State. He works in villages located on land cut off by the Balimela reservoir. This region lacks roads to this day, and even surveying is possible only on horseback. So Mr. Behera often borrows a horse from the villagers and sets off on his expeditions. His visits form the ground work for new roads to connect the remote villages. Looking at his method, time stands still for many as horse-borne technical surveys were a feature of the pre-Independence era. 100 isolated villages Nearly 100 villages isolated by the Balimela reservoir are not connected by roads. When the Gurupriya bridge was opened on July 26, 2018, part of this region with 151 villages got linked to the rest of Odisha and became ‘Swabhiman Anchal’ (region of pride). Now, plans are on to build roads under the Setu project of the Odisha government and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana of the Centre, to connect the 100-odd villages. The idea faces opposition from the Maoists, who stalled construction of the Gurupriya bridge for decades. Mr. Behera, posted at Khairaput along with his small team, is conducting surveys for roads in areas where no bike or four-wheeler can go. “For over 15 days a month, I use a horse. The entire region is horse country. Tribals use them for their transport and they are happy to share one,” he said. “When I am unable to return, I stay overnight at a village along with the horse,” he added. “Routes normally used by horses through the hilly forested terrain are less steep, and therefore good candidates for roads,” he explained. The horse-riding engineer also makes notes about drinking water, health and education issues and relays them to those departments. Since Maoists oppose the move, he tries to build public opinion about roads as catalysts of development. As he sees it, more people support new roads than those who oppose them, and so he has never faced a Maoist threat.He and his friends at Malkangiri have also formed a group to add a practical benefit to the surveys. They collect used clothes, blankets and household goods for the needy, and hand them over during visits.
ShareNEWS RELEASEDavid Ruth713firstname.lastname@example.orgJeff Falk713email@example.com Rice University-run poll: Parker leads Hall by 20 percent as Houston mayoral election is six weeks outDespite lead, findings suggest a runoff election HOUSTON – (Sept. 24, 2013) – With six weeks till Election Day, a poll conducted by Rice University’s Center for Civic Leadership shows Houston Mayor Annise Parker with a 20-percentage-point lead over former City Attorney Ben Hall. However, Parker only has the support of 34 percent of respondents, with Hall receiving 14 percent. Forty-eight percent said they are unsure whom they will support Nov. 5.The poll is based on interviews with 424 registered voters in the city of Houston between Sept. 11 and 20. It has an error rate of plus or minus 4.76 percent. It was prepared for KHOU-TV and KUHF-FM as part of a series of studies being announced this week. None of the other seven candidates received more than 2 percent of voter support in the poll.Separately, 62 percent of likely voters in the election feel the city is on the right track, with 57 percent rating Parker’s performance as positive.These findings suggest a runoff election for mayor between Parker and Hall, said Robert Stein, Rice’s Lena Gohlman Fox Professor of Political Science, who oversaw the poll. The runoff would take place Dec. 14.Historically, Parker has not polled well in pre-election surveys, Stein said. The mayor received 37 percent of voter support in a 2011 pre-election survey, and this is reflected in her narrow victory in 2011, where she won with 51 percent over her then-opponent, former City Attorney Gene Locke.Parker’s share of the vote by race and ethnicity is broad, according to the poll. She garnered 38 percent of the Anglo vote, 42 percent of the Hispanic vote and 24 percent of African-American vote. Hall, an African-American, has support from 29 percent of African-American voters. Parker garnered 27 percent of Anglo Republican voters’ support, compared with only 11 percent for Ben Hall.The University of Houston Center for Public Policy Survey Research Institute assisted with the research.-30-Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,708 undergraduates and 2,374 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 2 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/AboutRiceU. AddThis